Family Caregiver Support
As a partner with county and tribal aging programs, GWAAR is your resource for up-to-date information, training, and technical support to help you provide information and assistance to caregivers and their families.
All counties in Wisconsin receive funds through the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) and the Alzheimer’s Family Caregiver Support Program (AFCSP). NFCSP is a federal program through the Older Americans Act and AFCSP is a program exclusive to Wisconsin. While both programs support family and other informal caregivers in caring for their loved ones at home for as long as possible, AFCSP funds are designated for caregivers of people with dementia.
Wisconsin county and tribal aging programs can get AFCSP and NFCSP support and technical assistance by contacting GWAAR’s family caregiver support lead, Jane Mahoney.
The following are resources for county and tribal aging program staff:
Wisconsin Caregiver Support Community Monthly Calls
Each month, professionals who work with caregivers and caregiver support programs are invited to participate in a teleconference/webinar. This includes county and tribal caregiver coordinators, caregiver coalition members, Powerful Tools for Caregivers leaders and others. The calls are held the second Monday of the month from 1:00-2:00 pm. For agendas and call-in information contact Jane Mahoney. Notes from the monthly calls will be posted below.
The National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) was established in 2000 as an amendment to the Older Americans Act of 1965. Its main purpose is to assist families and other informal caregivers in caring for loved ones at home for as long as possible. Research shows that caregivers experience high levels of emotional, physical, and financial stress which often leads to diminished health of the caregiver. NFCSP funds are given to each county to be used in developing programs and services to support caregivers. A range of services and support should be offered to caregivers and must include the following Five Core Areas:
1. Information to caregivers about available services
2. Assistance to caregivers in gaining access to the services
3. Individual counseling, organization of support groups, and caregiver training
4. Respite care
5. Supplemental services, on a limited basis
Funds and programs from the National Family Caregiver Support Program are intended to assist caregivers. By nature, the services will in turn improve the life of the care receiver, but the main focus of the NFCSP is to support caregivers.
More in-depth information about the National Family Caregiver Support Program can be found on the Administration on Aging Website. A variety of tools, resources, and ideas are available on this Website to assist counties in meeting these core requirements.
Grandparents and Relative Caregivers (GRC) can be served through NFCSP if the caregiver is a relative by blood, marriage, or adoption and:
- is age 55 or older.
- is the primary caregiver.
- lives with the child.
- the child is under age 19 or is age 19-59 with a disability (cannot be the child’s parent).
These programs are sometimes referred to as Relatives as Parents Programs (RAPP). This is an important group of caregivers that need assistance.
The documents and links below can help you get started!
GRC Program Ideas
The distribution of funds for respite care, supplemental services, and other goods and services must be documented in SAMS (Social Assistance Management System) per federal and state guidelines. NFCSP policy also requires an assessment be done on caregivers and their care receivers to determine eligibility for the program. The basic information required that needs to be entered into SAMS can be gathered by using the following forms. Please note that one form is to collect information on the caregiver and the other is used to collect information on the care receiver.
Caregiver Initial Intake Form revised 11/15/15
Care Recipient Initial Intake Form revised 11/15/15
SAMS Reference Sheet
NFCSP Data Collection Sheet
Caregiver Needs Assessment Form
One of the biggest challenges in assisting family caregivers is finding the caregivers who need help; many of them do not identify themselves as caregivers and some think they don’t need help. And still, others are too overwhelmed by the day to day tasks to take the time to seek out help.
Effective marketing tools are vitally important to reach those caregivers who need help. Distributing brochures and posters to local businesses such as pharmacies, clinics, grocery stores, senior centers, etc., is a great form of outreach. Writing articles for newsletters and local papers can also be an effective way to reach caregivers. Customizable brochures, posters, ads and articles to increase public awareness of caregiver support programs can be found on the Marketing Toolkit below.
Find information and support (new page) for creating and sustaining a local or regional caregiver coalition.
Share The Care Stations are being developed in Wisconsin to meet the growing need for resources and support for family caregivers. Members of caregiver coalitions, including the local ADRC and aging unit, are trained in the Share The Care model to assist others in starting Share The Care groups. Share The Care offers communities another solution for providing care (by personal, volunteer networks) to meet the increasing demand for informal caregivers.
Powerful Tools for Caregivers (PTC) is the most widely-used evidence-based curriculum for caregiver education in the state. The Wisconsin Institute on Healthy Aging (WIHA) provides leader training and technical support for leaders. Caregiver Education and Support can also be provided via books, DVD's and web-based training.
Wisconsin Caregiver Call-In is a free, telephone support group available to all Wisconsin residents. The group meets on the 2nd Tuesday of each month from 1:00 - 2:30 pm. Participants can register and get the toll number by calling (877) 416-7083. Click on the links below to access outreach materials for the Call-In.
Support Groups are another important way to assist caregivers. Tips on creating and maintaining effective support groups and meeting topics and materials can be found on the Support Group Toolkit page.
The Alzheimer’s Family Caregiver and Support Program (AFCSP) was created by the Wisconsin state legislature in 1985 as a way to provide assistance to families who are caring for a loved one with irreversible dementia at home. The program is available to persons with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia and their caregiver. Their household income must also be less than $48,000/year with allowances for disease-related expenses.
AFCSP Program Management Materials
Financial Eligibility Instructions and Worksheets
AFCSP Outreach and Information
Dementia-Capable Wisconsin Resources
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, the Alzheimer’s Association of Southeastern Wisconsin, and AARP Wisconsin joined together to help build Dementia Friendly Communities across the state.